Chocolate Pear and Cherry Salad
It's fun to come up with new ways to use the ingredients we love. I developed a chocolate vinaigrette knowing how well it would play with stone fruit, the peppery bite of arugula, and the deep acidic sweetness of balsamic. There are tons of other options that can go with this vinaigrette so feel free to play! —Ryan Christie, Pacheco, California
Total TimePrep: 25 min. + chilling Bake: 15 min.
- 3/4 cup cut French green beans (haricots verts)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 ounce dark chocolate candy bar, chopped
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 4 cups fresh arugula
- 1 medium pear, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup frozen pitted sweet cherries, thawed and halved
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon minced dried apricots
- 2 teaspoons thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
- Heat oven to 350°. In an 8-in. square baking dish, toss beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven. Toss with balsamic vinegar; refrigerate, covered, 1-1/2 - 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Pulse melted chocolate, red wine vinegar and remaining olive oil in a blender until smooth.
- Divide arugula evenly between two salad bowls. Drizzle with chocolate mixture. Top with pears, cherries, cranberries and beans; sprinkle with pecans, apricots and mint leaves.
Test Kitchen Tips
Adjust the amount of dressing to the size of salad you wish to make; a little goes a long way with this one! Dried currants make an awesome substitution for the cranberries.